Uninvited Guests (Pests!)
When I first started writing The Uninvited Guest: Fire and the New Consciousness, I was thinking about fire. Collectively we banned it from our environment over the last 100 years and now it threatens to return with a vengeance. In this fifth year of severe drought in the West, we are being warned about the severity of this fire season and how it could well be catastrophic.
But fire is not the only uninvited guest! How much of our energies are devoted to controlling our environment so that we have only what we want around us? The lesson of fire is that there is no such thing as eliminating fire: we only build up debris so that when fire returns, it returns in a very big way! Our attempts at controlling fire have only resulted in massive lack of control of fire—and more carbon emissions which are contributing to global warming (more fire!)
In the vineyard today we are putting out mating disrupters. These pheromone strips confuse the uninvited male European grapevine moth in his search for a female. While mating disruptors are organic in method, the process itself is so different from that of Biodynamics. In Biodynamic Agriculture we are not so much aiming at excluding as working to understand the conditions under which everything has arrived. Then there is an attempt to understand what imbalance may be present, and then the work to help return balance.
What imbalance has come that allows entry of this invasive pest? It is a question requiring a larger perspective than saving a grape crop. It is why the farmer is seen as the quintessential with the mandate of bringing consciousness to the situation. How did we get here, and how do we support environments in which Lobesia botrana (the infamous moth!) is not so destructive?
Still, today we put out the strips. After all, the moth does not know the boundaries of our ranch and our neighbors’ and it is a neighborly thing to do—excluding what we don’t want (in coyote fashion!) by confusion—while also “listening” to the earth: what happened here that this invasive pest has arrived?